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The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has taken a step to help alleviate the shortage of school bus drivers brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Until March 31, 2022, drivers who apply for their S endorsement, which is needed for driving school buses, will have a portion of the test waived to help replenish bus driving staff.

“WisDOT is taking every available opportunity to ease the strain on communities struggling to recruit drivers by removing barriers that might keep prospective drivers from applying,” DMV Administrator Kristina Boardman said.

What has been waived?

The ‘under the hood’ engine components portion of the test has currently been waived, however, all other sections are still in place. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has allowed for this temporary change to the CDL test for school bus drivers. This move also has been made with hopes that former drivers will reinstate their classifications as well.

“Wisconsin’s CDL examiners will focus on the testing requirements that are critical to safety in order to help school districts and communities struggling to recruit qualified school bus drivers,” Boardman added.

It is important to note that this waiver applies only to school bus driving. Drivers who receive this CDL are gaining exclusive authorization to drive school buses within the state of Wisconsin.

Former school bus drivers wanted; incentives offered

In addition to the test waiver, the DMV sent letters to almost 1,000 former bus drivers whose license classifications have lapsed. The letter served to inform those interested in renewing their endorsements of the testing waiver and seeking employment opportunities within their respective communities.

Several school bussing companies have rolled out incentives for new drivers that include higher wages, sign-on and referral bonuses.

“With the critical shortage of school bus drivers in Wisconsin, we hope these steps will support new and returning drivers to get behind the wheel and ensure all students have convenient, safe transportation to their local schools,” Boardman said.

If your interested has been piqued, WisDOT has a lot of useful information to get you started. Visit their “School bus driver (S endorsement) license information” page.

The Racine County Eye and Kenosha Lens is committed to publishing the most current and accurate information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in our Coronavirus section. View both the Racine County COVID-19 Dashboard and Kenosha County COVID-19 Dashboard offering real-time (updated Monday – Friday) statistical reporting for Racine and Kenosha Counties.